At the culmination of its eighth cohort, the National Incubation Center Lahore (NICL) at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) held its flagship Investor Summit, bringing together seasoned investors, inspiring entrepreneurs, and corporate innovators.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman NICL Saleem Ahmad said: “We have now graduated eight cohorts from Lahore and Quetta in a short period of time, by dynamically adapting to extraordinary circumstances, transforming our offering and launching several new initiatives such as programmes in partnership with Saarland and Stanford.”
“At the Investor Summit today, I am proud to see the transformation and growth in these remarkable young entrepreneurs. Our aim at NICL is to continue supporting such talent and connecting with industry and academia to generate lasting impact,” he added.
The 13 startups graduating are a diverse set of high-impact ventures, including QBio, establishing Pakistan’s enzyme biotechnology company; Dawa Asaan, Pakistan’s first smart pharmacy delivering pre-sorted medicines; Peervest, a digital equity-based crowdfunding platform that connects tech-enabled startups with eligible investors.
Similarly, Loading Champions, a complete learning, coaching and recruitment solution; and Heirloom, that produces artisanal, sustainable and responsibly produced goods with elevated aesthetics.
In the past, NICL’s graduating startups have gone on to raise funding after pitching at the Investor Summit; KalPay, a shariah-compliant BNPL service have already closed their pre-seed round via an angel investment of $0.1 million and are in the process of finalising their next round of funding.
Speaking at the occasion Chairman P@sha and member of NICL’s Foundation Council Badar Khushnood, observed, “The diversity, depth and professionalism of startups at the Investor Summit is heartening to see. Despite challenges created by Covid-19, NICL has been able to build the right pipeline of startups and mature it effectively. I’m delighted that each pitch I saw today reflected the right vision, exposure and confidence.”
Startups presenting at the Investor Summit undergo a rigorous six-month long programme, with in-depth training in design thinking, law, strategy and business modeling, market research, communications and entrepreneurial finance. In addition, they receive one-to-one mentorship from industry leaders in their domains.
The center is now gearing up to welcome its ninth cohort, with ideas that solve problems in high-impact verticals across Pakistan.
Representing fintech, Aamdani, a startup founded by LUMS students, promotes earned wage access; Cashmail, founded to help ease chronic poverty, works on loan disbursement and recovery with the microfinance industry; whereas Zarai Zambeel provides digital financial solutions and services for farmers.
Other ideas include Gamma Green Recycle which helps recycling through cash incentives, SAY Global, that works on solving mental health and speech impediment issues, and Ebilty, which connects transporters with customers and provides end to end solutions.